In response to the Conservatives’ recent defence and security announcement, a Labour spokesperson sharply criticised the government’s handling of military affairs over the past 14 years, emphasising the need for change under Labour.

“This changed Labour Party knows that our nation’s defence must always come first,” the spokesperson said.

“But it’s the Conservatives who have failed our forces for 14 years, with the Army at its smallest size since Napoleon, a recruitment crisis, morale at record lows, and over £15 billion wasted in bad defence procurement. Our Armed Forces can’t afford five more years of the Tories.”

Labour’s statement comes amid controversy surrounding the Conservative Party’s proposed National Service scheme. According to Labour, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps contradicted the Conservatives’ manifesto by stating that 18-year-olds opting for military service would only serve for 25 days, rather than the year-long commitment initially promised.

Shapps’ comments on GMB further fuelled the debate, where he said, “The third thing is the problem of the recruitment for our armed services. And so, from a Defence Secretary’s point of view, the very concept of being able to introduce 30,000 people for experience, they are not going to be, you know, this is a 25-day thing in a year. For experience in our armed forces.”

Labour also highlighted internal dissent within the Conservative Party, noting that Defence Minister Andrew Murrison had previously rejected the National Service idea, stating it could “damage morale, recruitment, retention and would consume professional military and naval resources.”

In terms of defence spending, Labour pointed out that during its last period in government, defence spending was at 2.5% of GDP, a level not matched in the 14 years under Conservative leadership. Despite promises to reach this percentage by 2030, recent budgets have not met this target, nor have they prevented real-term cuts in defence spending.

Labour further cited statements from former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who admitted that the Conservatives had “hollowed out and underfunded” the Armed Forces. The party referenced concerns from military leaders and experts, including a US general’s remark that the British Army was no longer a top-level fighting force and General Sir Patrick Sanders’ warning about the Army becoming a “domestically-focused land force.”

As the spokesperson concluded, “It’s time for change with Labour. We will ensure Britain is better defended.”

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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Jacko (@guest_826348)
16 days ago

I suppose we will have to wait and see but having served when Labour were in power I wouldn’t hold your breath!

Rfn_Weston (@guest_826352)
16 days ago

Yeah the £15 billion in waste is much down to the civil servants at the MOD, who will remain in post after any change in government. Every large department within the civil service is ran like a bag of shit. If they were private companies they would undoubtedly fold. People sneer when politicians of any colour mention ‘efficiency savings’ but in reality the level of inefficiency – or more accurately the levels of productivity are likely to be way below 90%, contribution to massive amounts of waste on fiscals. The problem is you have to ruthlessly hold decision makers within… Read more »

Jacko (@guest_826387)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

This is the ‘civil’ service who are there to carry out policy but who’s union is taking the govt to court because they don’t agree on a policy😡so much for apolitical🙄

Jon (@guest_826398)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

If the Civil Service are asked to do something they believe to be illegal, they have as much right to refuse as the Border Force or the Navy did when they were ordered by the Home Office to “push back” on small boats trying to cross the channel. As we know from the Nuremberg trials, courts don’t take “I was only obeying orders” as a valid excuse.

Being apolitical doesn’t mean robotic compliance. I’m told some of them are so close to being human that you’d never know the difference.

Jacko (@guest_826408)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Well actually push back is not illegal is it? The Nuremberg trails comments are frankly stupid.
Migration watch UK 09/09/21

Last edited 15 days ago by Jacko
Jon (@guest_826711)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Endangering small boats in an effort to push them back is absolutely illegal. The Home Office were told this by Border Force so Patel brought in the Navy who told her the same thing. It’s a general principle in international law as well as in English law that we are individually responsible to the law for what we do. That why I mentioned Nuremberg which was a test case for the defence of “obeying orders”. It’s international law that the Home Office civil servants believe they will be violating (according to the press reports of the case). The case that… Read more »

Geneticengineer (@guest_826403)
15 days ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

I have 2 friends who are civil servants. Both told me they could easily lose 50% of the work force without impacting efficiency. Mind blown!

Markam (@guest_826359)
16 days ago

This election needs to be over with as fast as possible. I’m tired of reading moaning about the previous government from Labour (even if it’s true). Then we can see what they’re made of.

Ex_Service (@guest_826369)
16 days ago

Now that’s what I call throwing stones at glass houses!

Though what do you expect when you have career politicians who have not served in the military voted in by just as ignorant voters.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_826373)
16 days ago

Words are cheap …

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg (@guest_826376)
16 days ago

I struggle to believe they can be any worse, which is sort of a running theme for politics these days

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_826380)
16 days ago

I’m voting Labour. I’m doing so because I can’t stand or afford another 5 years of Tory incompetence, waste and our country going backwards.
The Tories have been shockingly bad. The worst defence cuts in our national history have occured over the last 14 years under Tory rule. Never, ever, ever again can the Tories even pretend to be the party for defence.
Labour. Well let’s see. I’m optimistic that given 2 terms of parliament they can turn things around. They need 2 terms minimum to repair the huge massive shit show the Tories have caused.

Saccharine (@guest_826705)
14 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

2 terms is optimistic, given how quick the electorate is to forget the past. Labour has an immense challenge ahead of them – if they don’t get a handle on immigration, healthcare, the welfare system, AND defence all in the first 5 years, the electorate (as they always do) will punish them for it. We may know that it will take a lot longer than a single 5 year parliament to solve these existential problems, but can you trust the average voter to understand that, or will they whine like little babies for more tax cuts and more pension boosts… Read more »

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_826385)
15 days ago

Actual the defence budget under the last Labour government was more than 2.5% as Trident was funded a separate budget.
Cameron/Osborne rolled it into the main defence budget.

As regards Labour, encouraging words but talk especially from a politician is cheap, action counts!!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826391)
15 days ago

I echo most comments here. I woudnt trust Labour as far as I can toss them, and I won’t vote for them.
Let’s see what happens, I’ve made my fears plain here often enough.

Saccharine (@guest_826704)
14 days ago

Then who will you vote for?

Same people that gutted our defence pipeline for 14 years?

John (@guest_826427)
15 days ago

Unfortunately Labour are just as guilty as the Tories for destroying not only our armed forces but also our defence industry during their times in power. Just look at the 60’s and 70’s. No government truly wants to properly fund and maintain an armed force just like pre 1939 but our service personal are the ones who make the ultimate sacrifice not those MP’s postering in parlimant or begging for our votes now. Money always cut from armed forces for pet projects that then get cancelled.

Saccharine (@guest_826703)
14 days ago
Reply to  John

If you are sincerely looking back to the 60s and 70s as though they are even remotely relevant, then I think you need to take some time off. We remain one of the world’s largest arms exporters.

Plus, the profound impacts of the 2010 Defence Review are the real issue for us now. You are letting recent years cloud your judgement and it stinks of presentism.

John (@guest_826715)
14 days ago
Reply to  Saccharine

Just making a point that whoever is in power always looks at defence budget when cuts in finances are required, doesn’t matter the party. The only way things improve is to look back and not make the same mistakes.

pete (@guest_826450)
15 days ago

Leaking roofs at Ashchurch were allowed to decay to the extent the asbestos was shedding fibers onto workers tool boxes, one fiber is enough to cause disease. Not that easy to clean a tracked vehicle with the hatch open contaminated ?

Micki (@guest_826595)
15 days ago

Labour or conservative, the goal is the same, to leave Britain unarmed. Cuts, cuts and more cuts. Defence is not a priority for both

Mike (@guest_826772)
14 days ago

Plague on both their houses!! Both Labour and the Conservatives have undermined UK defence over the past 60 years!!

Andrew (@guest_828168)
8 days ago

Labour has 13 years in government and ruins the fabric of the nation; cuts defence and leaves the finances in a mess. Then has a very poor record as the opposition for 14 years. But don’t worry, they’ll fix it all! (And no, I’m not a fan of the Tories either!)